On November 22 and 23, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) hosted its annual Ontario Economic Summit (OES) in Toronto, featuring various speakers across multiple industries and opportunities to connect with the provincial government. The overall theme of the summit was building Ontario’s growth agenda, and it kicked off with a munk-style debate on reshoring Ontario and securing critical productive capacities within domestic borders to address current supply chain challenges.
One of the main presentations included a fireside chat with the U.S. Ambassador to Canada, David L. Cohen, moderated by the OCC President & CEO, Rocco Rossi. Rocco asked tough questions about Canada/U.S. relations politically and economically. Ambassador Cohen provided optimistic insight into the ongoing discussions with our largest trading partner and explained his approach to building relationships. Cohen remarked that it is essential to his office that he not only works with major cities but also explores the country and gets to know different parts of rural and urban Canada, coast to coast to coast. It was interesting to hear Cohen’s positive approach to issues such as trade; as Cohen explained, our relationship with the U.S. is as strong as ever and will continue to be.
Several presentations and keynotes focused on inclusion and reconciliation as they apply to Ontario’s economic growth, challenging system and social norms while offering positive solutions to addressing workforce gaps by building relationships with traditionally underrepresented groups.
Provincial government-wise, Minister Bethlenfalv took part in a fireside chat with Adrienne Batra, Editor-in-Chief of Toronto Sun, in which he discussed critical aspects of the fall economic statement and what we can expect from the government in the upcoming budget. The last session included a roundtable with Minister of Economic Development Vic Fedeli. In this meeting, Minister Fedeli was encouraged to continue to invest in small-business support that would reduce tax and cost burdens and invest in innovative programs to ensure the province and our business community maintain a competitive edge globally.
– Peter Garrett, Government Relations Specialist, Durham College